In the current marketplace, contact lenses have become such a well-advertised commodity that their prices are now set by the market. This creates competitive issues for the private practice optometrist that see boxes of lenses advertised for less than she or he can buy them at wholesale from vendors. Yet the contact lens patient remains one of the best practice growth opportunities. Statistically, the contact lens patient has the highest referral rate, is the most loyal, and yes, spends the most money of any other patient type. All of these statistics take into account that they have more touchpoints within a practice than many other patient types. They attain greater medical knowledge about their eyesight due to their familiarity with this medical device and they additionally own prescription glasses and sunglasses as well. In fact, statistics show that a new contact lens wearer will buy a pair of nonprescription sunglasses within 72 hours of getting their first lenses.
Due to these facts, it makes sense to bundle all of these contact lens needs together and brand them within an office. It is the experience with the contact lenses that you must educate patients about, not just the plastic they put in their eye each morning. The process of teaching the patient about the lens as a medical device and about other necessities to enhance the contact lens wear is what will set the eye care professional apart from the crowd to give him or her a competitive edge.
So here is where I introduce to you the Contact Lens Success Program. While your office may not be utilizing a specific program that you refer to, I bet that your office is already utilizing elements within the program. This in an example of how we recommend describing the contact lens experience to a new contact lens patient in order to retain them as well as to start the process of building value into sunglasses and alternative glasses. If this is done properly, the patient will buy all options over time and refer new patients at a higher rate.
The first element is the three-part examination. You know that if you’ve watched our Scheduling Optimization program, that we refer to a two- and three-part examination. Allow me to elaborate on what is exactly included in a three-part examination.
Part one, the refraction. This element includes the objective and subjective refraction to deliver a precise prescription for glasses and a suitable prescription for contact lenses. Referencing our part one, the basics in our contact lens series, you know that these prescriptions are not always the same. There are different methods involved in determining each prescription. This particular refraction or element consists of the initial refraction.
Part two, the eye health examination. This is an evaluation of the external and internal health and functioning of your eyes. These tests include eye coordination and evaluation for cataracts and glaucoma. Some patients may not be a good candidate for contact lenses as determined by an eye care professional. This may be due to pathology reasons that may impede the patient’s eye health.
Part three, the contact lens examination. This includes a group of tests that is designed to determine your eye’s ability to wear contacts or the ability to continue wearing contacts. No matter the patient’s extent of contact lens wear, specific tests will evaluate whether or not the contact lens wear has impacted the health of the eyes. As you’ve learned in our previous program, some lenses may modify the corneal surface by flattening it, which is why it is important to see contact lens patients back yearly to evaluate any changes to their eye health.
As you consider these three elements on how they create the three-part examination, one of the most common complaints we hear from patients pertain to the fees. As you see here there are three parts of the examination and there are three associated fees. There is the refraction fee, eye health evaluation fee, and the contact lens evaluation fee, sometimes this is referred to as the fit fee. Some patients may question the fee for the contact lens evaluation and this is primarily as a result of failing to build the value and speak to the patient experience. This is why it is vital to refer to the three-part examination when speaking to all of our contact lens patients and anytime we are discussing elements of their exam.